Hacking Retirement: How 'What's Next' Will Forever Change

The third-third of life, which for many Americans has included retirement, is evolving into something much different. Understand the pain-points and problems to be solved so your organization and brand can innovate and communicate with authenticity, empathy, and intelligence.


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The third-third of life, which for many in the past several decades was known as "retirement," is in the midst of a significant evolution and needs to be redefined. Not only are consumers different generationally and socioeconomically, so are their aspirations regarding "what's next" and their abilities to get there. Two previous original large-scale projects from this same research team -- "Hacking Longevity" and "Hacking Life Shifts" -- have set the stage for this deepest of dives into how retirement will be transformed in the year to come. We welcome you to join this collaborative of innovative brands and organizations to help shape and share this ambitious work.


  • Uncover how people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s are thinking and feeling differently about retirement from a holistic framework of Health, Wealth and Self
  • Lessen uncertainty about the “third third” – people are unsure of what to expect and, therefore, unsure of when and how to plan for it
  • Provide solutions for shifting plans for the “third third” – people who do have plans often find them derailed, so they find themselves needing to regroup and create a new plan.
  • Reveal pain-points that people are feeling and, in turn, the messaging and products that will be most helpful to these different groups in thinking about and/or preparing for the third-third
  • Leverage these insights to inform strategic planning and potential “retirement” and third-third initiatives


This groundbreaking work will inform and inspire organizations to anticipate and understand what the "third-third" of life and "retirement" will look like in the future. Informed by many of the top thought leaders on this topic, along with two previous ambitious pieces of research, this new project will position your brand to develop products and messaging that help consumers realize the type of "what's next" life to which they aspire.

Methodology: Qualitative/Quantitative

Qualitative Research Target

Gender: 50% Male, 50% Female

Ethnicity: Approximates national population distribution

Ages: 30 to 80

Geography: US Only; Approximates national population distribution

Quantitative Design

Sample Source:

Dynata (formerly Research Now/SSI) has more than 11 million panelists in 40+ countries, is an industry-leading panel provider, and a trusted partner to RTi. Dynata allows behavioral appends that provide additional levels of data from which to tell the story of the future of retirement.

Quantitative Research Target

Additional Demographic Screening:

To provide critical context to inform the larger “Hacking Retirement” project, an innovative "pre-phase" was recently conducted to leverage big-data ethnographic analysis.

MotivBase, the firm that executed this pre listening phase, developed an "AI Anthropologist" that allowed us to decode, quantify and predict trends, issues, and needs when it comes to retirement. MotivBase scraped and thematically organized online consumer conversations at scale for analysis by human anthropologists.

The resulting data:
• Decoded the motivational DNA behind the conversations
• Quantified and predicted the impact of trends regarding retirement
• Identified pain points people are feeling and anticipating regarding their "what's next" chapter of life

Geography: US Only; Approximates national population distribution


Deliverable Overview:

• Real-time updates and input calls to shape and share the learnings

• Listening phase graphical report, sharing anthropological insights at scale that will inform the qualitative and quantitative phases to follow

• Final in-depth report, strategically integrated the key findings and insights from each research phase

• eBook: a branded c-level readout of key insights that tell the story of how “retirement” will forever change

• Access to all data and deliverables on an exclusive portal on the KnowledgeHound data-visualization platform

• Presentation to your organization by the research leads

• Optional activation session by subject-matter expert Lori Bitter, president of The Business of Aging

Reporting: Formal Report

Presentation: Web-based

Additional Deliverables:

• Shared detailed, graphical report
• Presentation via video conference
• eBook
• Optional activation session with Lori Bitter, president of The Business of Aging


Company: RTi and The Business of Aging

Previous Projects: 4


Supplier's Qualifications:

RTi RESEARCH turns data into meaning, something that can be communicated simply and acted upon effectively. For nearly 40 years, we’ve been bringing the customer voice to the corporate decision-making process through our wide range of quantitative and qualitative marketing research services and methods. What’s different today are the technologies that allow us to gather and mine enormous amounts of data and the resulting struggle to figure out what it all means. Navigating this starts with understanding when to leverage new, innovative data collection and analytic technologies, techniques and methods, or when a traditional approach is best; and culminates in finding meaning in all that data and sharing it through innovative storytelling. Turning data into meaning is how we support our clients’ success.

THE BUSINESS OF AGING helps businesses and organizations advance their goals, while advocating for and serving the mature market. Lori Bitter, President, is a well-known, well-respected expert. She is the author of "The Grandparent Economy" and was recently named as one of “The Top 50 Influencers in Aging” by Next Avenue.

Supplier's Team:

Lori Bitter, The Business of Aging
Lisa Cooper, Senior Vice President, RTi


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